This past summer, Xavier University’s Center for International Business (CIB) was invited to participate in the Young African Leaders Mentoring Partnership. This is the Obama Administration’s program to engage young African leaders actively promoting positive change shaping the future of their continent. It supports leadership development, promotes entrepreneurship and connects young leaders with one another and the United States. The CIB was invited to mentor Patricia Nzolantima of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She is an entrepreneur and a community organizer, looking for academic support to create a micro-lending program for her community.
Three faculty members of the Williams College of Business - Mee-Shew Cheung, PhD, (associate professor of Marketing and director of the CIB), Rebecca Luce, PhD (assistant professor of Management) and Hasan Faruq, PhD (assistant professor of Economics) created an MBA independent study program with four current MBA students to devise a micro-lending service. They hope to support low-income female entrepreneurs in the DRC and provide them with opportunity to improve their economic and social status.
The MBA students are Melissa Young (45240), Jake Mehon (41971), Yasse Al-Debassi (45208), and Vinay Mishra (45207).
The project requires an understanding of the economic/political/cultural and legal aspects of the DRC and the differing models of micro-lending around the world; analyzing the competitive landscape; and presenting a marketing plan to promote the service to the target segments in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi.
The course will use WebEx to connect Xavier students with locals in DRC. The course has received support from Cincinnati’s business community, namely Mabe Rodriguez, a 22-year veteran of Procter & Gamble. Rodriguez was vice president of the company’s North America and Latin America pet care business, and is currently chief growth officer. She is on loan from P&G to the Cincinnati Museum Center and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. She will meet with the MBA students and share her experience in Colombia. There, she led a project to prevent domestic violence by granting micro credits to low income women, in alliance with the Colombian government and P&G’s Pantene brand. Jeff Lay, managing director of Oxford Financial Group, and Xavier Executive MBA graduate and CIB board member will serve as industry consultant to the project group.
CIB continues to use its expanding network to create unique opportunities that provide global experiential learning for Xavier MBA students.